Things to Do in Chicago's South Loop

Museums, Parks, and Art

Chicago's South Loop is where you'll find the popular lakefront Museum Campus. This is home to several of the city's most notable attractions including the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, Soldier Field, and the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place. The neighborhood also has many popular jazz clubs, great restaurants, and several historic districts. Millionaire's Row is in the Prairie Avenue District and it's filled with elegant mansions and impressive architecture.
Adler Planetarium
Adler Planetarium
This planetarium and museum focuses on the study of astronomy and astrophysics. It was established in 1930, making it the first planetarium in the country. It is also part of Chicago's Museum Campus. From outside of the museum you can enjoy a skyline view of the city, and when the weather is calm you might even catch it's reflection in the water.
1300 South Lake Shore Drive, South Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium is Chicago's indoor aquarium with more than 32,000 animals. It's located on Museum Campus and has a number of exhibits that include fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and more.
1200 South Lake Shore Drive, South Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
Interested in more travel advice for Chicago? Check out Things to do Along the Magnificent Mile (and in River North) and Best Things to do in Hyde Park, Chicago.
The Field Museum of Natural History
The Field Museum of Natural History
The Field Museum is one of the largest national history museums in the world. It has impressive exhibits and educational programs as well as a large collection of specimen and artifacts. The exhibits are diverse and show fossils, cultures, and interactive programming that the whole family can enjoy.
1400 South Lake Shore Drive, South Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
Museum Campus
Museum Campus is a large part of Grant Park that houses five of the city's top attractions - the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, Soldier Field, and the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place.
1217 East Solidarity Drive, South Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
McCormick Place
McCormick Place is the largest convention center in North America and it includes four buildings and an indoor arena.
2301 South Lake Shore Drive, Burnham Park, Chicago, Illinois, 60616
Museum of Contemporary Photography
This small museum is a unique place to visit. It has interesting vintage photos as well as modern works. There is an impressive collection by Dorothea Lange who photographed the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. There is also a featured exhibit that highlights Midwest photographers and their work with social issues from around the world.
600 S Michigan Ave, South Loop, Chicago, IL, 60605
Burnham Park
Burnham Park follows the banks of Lake Michigan for six miles from 14th Street to 56th Street. It spans 600 acres and includes the Burnham Harbor, Soldier Field, and McCormick Place. The Lakefront Trail passes through the park as well. Skateboarders will appreciate Burnham Skate Park, but there are also tennis courts, a fishing pier, and several beaches. For kids, there is a playground.
South Loop, Chicago, IL
12th Street Beach
Follow the path from Adler Planetarium to reach this quiet beach. At night there are often bands playing nearby so it's a chill place to spend the evening.
1200 S. Linn White Dr., Northerly Island Park, Chicago, IL, 60605
Planning a trip to Chicago? You might also be interested in Romantic Places to Visit in Chicago and The Best Science Museums in Chicago.
Prairie District Park
This little park has slides, climbing areas, play houses, and water misters. There's also a nice dog park where pets can run free, a running path, and a pool.
2051 S Prairie Ave, Burnham Park, Chicago, IL, 60616
Lakefront Trail
The Chicago Lakefront Trail is a 18.5-mile long trail that is great for running, walking, biking, and even skateboarding. It runs alone the western shore of Lake Michigan and it's popular with locals, tourists, athletes, and commuters. From the trail you can access the lake at different points and the trail passes by a number of different recreational areas including Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park, and Jackson Park.
Chicago, IL
Soldier Field
Soldier Field is home to the Chicago Bears. It's a football and soccer stadium that's near downtown Chicago that holds 61,500 people. Nearby there are a number of activities that kids can enjoy.
1410 Special Olympics Dr, Burnham Park, Chicago, IL, 60605

Where to Stay in Chicago

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